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Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume II, Issue 1 2013 A Narrative of Resiliency and Cultural Acceptance: Social Justice, Competition, and Quality Viewed through the Gendered Lens Dr. Wesley D. Hickey, Associate Professor University of Texas at Tyler Dr. Genie Linn, Associate Professor University of Texas at Tyler Dr. Vance Vaughn, Associate Professor University of Texas at Tyler

Abstract Cultural expectations of women often create challenges for women taking roles in educational leadership. This paper analyzes the trials of the first woman principal in a small village in Belize. This region’s cultural expectations of women created obstacles with her all male faculty and community members; however, she overcame these issues with an assertive approach that was honest and rational. Her challenges are similar to women principals in other parts of the world. The authors reflect on their experiences with women’s leadership in rural Texas and compare it to the interview conducted with the Belizean principal, concluding that cultural expectations of women can make administrative positions more difficult.

Introduction The principal has many roles, but they all revolve around being the educational leader of his/her school. This individual must address the myriad of issues that occur on any campus, from teacher ineffectiveness to student discipline. Effective leadership is contingent upon many factors, but one that is often overlooked is the cultural acceptance and expectations of the principal as leader. This acceptance may include race, age, or gender, and each has its own set of challenges. In an effort to understand the universality of the issues facing women in school leadership, this research shares the story of Rebecca, the first woman principal in a small Central American village. Using narrative inquiry we ask: What does Rebecca have to tell us about overcoming the challenges of cultural acceptance and expectations in a Central American country, and in what ways can we relate that message to the acceptance issues faced by women leaders in our school cultures as related to social justice, competition, and quality?


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JTWSE—Volume 2  

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